Exscientia forms UK-US partnership to screen possible Covid-19 drugs

Allie Nawrat 1 April 2020 (Last Updated April 1st, 2020 14:49)

AI drug discovery company Exscientia has expanded its ongoing anti-viral drugs partnership with the UK’s national synchrotron facility Diamond Light Source and University of Oxford across the Atlantic Ocean to include California-based Scripps Research’s Calibr and focus on Covid-19 research.

The US-UK partners will leverage Calibr’s Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded collection of 15,000 clinically-ready molecules. After being shipped from California to Oxford, the collection will be rapidly screened for the targets using Exscientia’s advanced biosensor platforms.

The theory is Exscientia and its partners will be able to rapidly identify drugs that could be repurposed against Covid-19, as well as progress novel compounds into new, viable drugs, thereby shortening the drug discovery process and speeding up the route to clinical trials.

Exscientia’s head of quantitative pharmacology Dr Martin Redhead said: “Given the ever-expanding scale and rapid speed at which Covid-19 is spreading, the initial priority is to search for any existing drug that can be repurposed to protect the human population.

“Then as we move forward we can design superior molecules with our AI-Design systems to work even more effectively against the virus.

"The Scripps Research collection allows us to explore both of these important objectives.”

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